Every truly great vacation starts many days, sometimes even months, before actual take-off. And this vacation was no different. Rob will soon be posting a blog describing our “Road to Anfield,” and that Road, for the Muellers collectively, began back in November when Rob applied for a Liverpool FC fan card, which is required to buy tickets.
More immediately, however, our trip started the day before we left, when we heard on the radio that the public sectors were striking and that thousands of people had canceled flights that morning. If our flight were to be canceled, we would not only lose the money for the flight, which I’m sure Lufthansa would reimburse us for, but we would also miss our reservation at The Narrow and probably the Liverpool game on Saturday, although we might still have been able to make that. So we were pretty stressed last Wednesday.
Thankfully, we woke up Thursday to reports of no striking, but deal-making. We were very, very happy about that, because the train drivers were threatening to strike starting the following Monday if a deal could not be reached. That would leave us in Frankfurt (45 miles away) Monday night without a cheap way home to Giessen.
Thus ends the boring portion of the trip story. Grab your popcorn, because things are about to get exciting!
Note: Many of the links in the following story are to pictures in our online photo album, although a few are to related articles. If you see a URL that starts with “picasaweb” it’s a picture.
When we arrived in London, we checked into our hotel, Colliers Hotel. Nothing exciting, and not a place we’d want to stay for more than three nights or so, but for the price (£38) and the location (an easy 5-minute walk from Victoria Station), it was definitely worth it for us for one night.
That’s right. We had to visit Platform 9 3/4. I pushed my little cart and I got through! Unfortunately, I was late. As I made it through, I saw the Hogwart’s Express steaming away. Needless to say, I was heartbroken! So, I headed back to Rob, London, and all the muggles.
So, we headed out of King’s Cross. We were getting hungry, so we stopped at the fish and chips place that smelled the best. Then, we found a park and found a bench. It didn’t take too long before a couple pigeons joined us, and then we started feeding them. We had a whole flock at our feed in seconds. Fun stuff.
After we fueled our bodies up on the dish England is famous for, we headed out for Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, took a few pictures, then found a nice little picturesque pub to have our first English pint. Then it was off to Trafalgar Square, a long stroll down The Mall, Buckingham Palace, and another nice stroll through Green Park (so many runners—I was jealous!). Then we took the tube to Chinatown, where we tried Dragon’s Beard Candy. It was dark by this point, so my ability to take pictures was severely limited, but thanks to my pocket tripod, I did manage to get some great shots of the London Eye and Big Ben.
Our last trip on Friday night was to head out to The Narrow. We had to transfer from the Underground to Docklands Light Railway, but it wasn’t as big a change as I thought it would be. It was just like switching from the U-bahn to the S-bahn in Berlin. We weren’t exactly sure how long it would take us to get out to the Limehouse area of east London, and we arrived 45 minutes before our reservation, so we walked around this quiet part of London for a while.
Our dinner at The Narrow was amazing. Rob had the chicken liver paté starter, the duck special, and the apple pie with vanilla custard. I had the prawn cocktail starter, the rib-eye, and treacle tart with clotted cream. I also tried Leffe Blonde and Fullers Organic Honey Dew beers. The service was perfect (although we did have about three different people waiting on us at one point–I think one was the drink server) and the food was perfect. I had never eaten a shrimp cocktail with sauce Marie Rose, and I really prefer it over the cocktail sauce it’s always been served with before. I tried the treacle tart because of—you guessed it—Harry Potter. Those Hogwart’s elves are always serving up treacle tart, and I just had to know what Harry, Ron, and Hermione were eating all those years. Plus, it’s a traditional English dessert, and when in Rome…
That was our first day! We were exhausted, so we trudged back to our hotel and passed out, happy and full of new memories.